Most maritime workers think that the Jones Act only covers offshore injuries, like the kind suffered on a vessel in navigation like a cargo ship or fishing boat. However, the Jones Act actually carries special interpretations that protect maritime workers from injuries suffered onshore as well – even if you’re not actively working on the boat when the injury happens.
By definition, the Jones Act covers all crewmember injuries sustained during the course of your employment with any maritime company, so long as the injuries were caused by employer negligence. This includes injuries sustained while working on a dock, embarking or disembarking from a vessel, or even working on a third-party premises like a warehouse or cargo facility.
Generally speaking, if you’re a maritime employee who spends at least 30% of his or her time onboard a vessel in navigation during the course of your employment, the entire Jones Act applies to you, even if you’re injured while not onboard the vessel itself. The Jones Act requires that shipowners and employers furnish their workers with a safe place to work, regardless of where the injury might occur.
And if you find yourself injured while working for a maritime company, even if the work occurs onshore – you need the maritime injury attorneys of O’Bryan Law.
Onshore Worker Injury FAQs
What is an “onshore worker”?
Onshore workers, true to their name, are any employee of the maritime industry that works primarily on land. These can include office personnel (for shipping offices or inventory management), warehouse workers, dockworkers who primarily work with implements on the docks as opposed to vessels (like cranes for moving cargo and the like). These workers are just as vital to the maritime industry as offshore workers are, and neither of them can do their job without the other.
The term “onshore worker” can apply to oil rigs, as well. Many oil rigs exist on land as well, and can be just as dangerous as offshore oil rig work, even if the laws surrounding each of them are different.
Are onshore workers covered by the Jones Act?
That depends on the circumstances around your employment, and each individual case may have a different outcome. Previous rulings involving the Jones Act have determined that any worker who performs less than 30% of their work in service of a vessel may not qualify as a seaman, and may not be able to seek compensation under maritime law, even if you perform similar duties to offshore workers (such as onshore oil rig work). However, the totality of the circumstances around your case may indicate your eligibility for the Jones Act, as maritime law can be a complex matter.
Are there laws to protect onshore workers?
The Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (or LHWCA) provides injury coverage for certain types of onshore workers, including harbor employees, shipbuilders, dockworkers, and other workers that the Jones Act may not consider “seamen”. While these laws are separate from American maritime law, they function similarly in offering protection and recovery for injuries suffered in the course of their employment.
What should I do if I suffer an onshore injury?
The first thing to do in the event of any onshore injury is to seek immediate medical attention. This can help mitigate the damage from your injury, and help to prevent your condition from worsening, as well as providing a solid record of you seeking to recover from your injury in the event the case goes to trial.
After that, you should contact the onshore injury lawyers of O’Bryan Law to begin a review of your case. We can review the circumstances surrounding your case to determine whether or not you may be protected by the Jones Act, and work to find the best way forward for you and your loved ones after suffering an onshore injury.
If you’ve been injured working onshore, contact O’Bryan Law today.